Cedric Southerland Deserves to Be Homeless
This morning the security were giving me a hard time because I was asking them for my razors five minutes before 9 AM, when we are supposed to be out of the building. These are semi-confiscated and kept at the front desk, and I trade my shelter ID card, which doubles as a room key. I’d scan it, but it’s not allowed to leave the building. Cedric Southerland, the job developer, stopped him from bugging me, but stood there and insisted that I go to the event hosted by ACE Programs for the Homeless, so the security guard let me take my razors and finish shaving.
Cedric was supposed to open up the room at 9:30, but he didn’t show up until 9:36, in spite of his hammering on the importance of punctuality. The only thing worthwhile there were the doughnuts. I should have taken more than the three I took because of how they wasted my time, but I’m fitting into XL clothing now, and I don’t want to need XXL clothing again, although that’s what I wear because it’s what I have, aside from two recently acquired garments–pajamas I had to buy so I could stop holding them up, and a coat given to me by the director of the Brooklyn Repertory Opera, which belonged to his father.
The program looked pretty grim. The implication was the only work they help people into are construction, maintenance, and food service. This was confirmed at the end, when it was explicitly stated that to qualify for the program, one would need a doctor to sign off on certification that we are able to do prolonged standing and heavy lifting in cold temperatures, something no reputable doctor would do for me. At this point, I crossed my name off the list of people for one-one one conversations, explaining this as the reason, after which I walked off and took my third doughnut.
Cedric Southerland knows about my condition. His insistence that I stay was downright incompetent. He also insisted that I stay for an event with someone from Workforce 1. Only two desk jobs were at that event. Both required a minimum of two years’ experience in social services. The others were all security, maintenance, retail, and food service. I provided my resume to them, but I wrote on the back admin/office, editorial/proofreading/media, and educational support (no teaching license). They have nothing for me. ACE refuses to adapt to the changing demographics of the homeless population. At least two of my roommates have bachelor’s degrees, although they are able-bodied and have never worked in their fields, but in low-level work. One I will call Fake Psychologist (he mostly works moving televisions) for the purposes of this blog. He has a degree in psychology from a state school in Michigan. I doubt he did too well, since he has “baby mama” issues and insists that anyone who has reached a certain age without having kids is gay. At first, he used it only to attack celebrities, but when a widowed hairdresser who often gets called Vidal Sassoon had his bed transferred to our room, he was telling me that Vidal likes both men and women, but Fake Psychologist doesn’t think bisexuality is real, and that he’s really gay. Vidal said he is going to beat up Fake Psychologist for saying that, but only when thy’re well away from the building, and he can’t be sanctioned by the shelter system. The other guy in my room I know to have a degree has it in parks and recreation management, but has worked mostly in security. It’s very tempting to use his real name, since Fake Psychologist likes to put “the” in front of it because it suits him. He has his name in common with a Jess Franco film.
My roommates have seen my night splints, the way that I limp, and how I’ve come back from demonstrations, such as the Black Friday Wal-Mart and Dylan’s Candy Bar demonstrations hobbling on a cane, and again, my caseworker has my medical documentation on file. She’s on my case for not going to see Cedric enough. She at least gives me appointments. He doesn’t. He generally doesn’t arrive until after we are supposed to be out of the building, so I’m not quite sure how we arrange this.
Cedric Southerland got his job through networking. I don’t know how he qualified. The caseworkers here and at most of the shelters do not have degrees in social work. Most have only a high school diploma, so my struggle to find work is absolutely foreign to them. Although it wasn’t supposed to leave the room when I was ordered to miss David Friedman’s singing class on intake to go to it, I didn’t sign anything. Cedric spent years as a drug dealer and spent five years in prison. He got this job solely because he knew the right person, even though it’s clear that he doesn’t meet the qualifications to do the job. This is the kind of person than your $3,533 per month in federal tax money goes to pay as a subcontractor for city services.
If they find this blog, they will probably transfer me to rat-infested “Castle Grayskull.” A girl who has recently become a regular in NYC Wikimedians lived near it when she first moved to New York, and even she knew it by its nickname. It is the notorious Bedford-Atlantic Shelter, where some people (At soup kitchens and Picture the Homeless) claim they have seen me, although I have never been. Richard, the president, whom I mentioned previously offhandedly, wants to add to the Rumors About the Vatican article that there is a rumor that there is a tunnel from Castle Grayskull to the Vatican, but he cannot find anything that will pass as a reliable source that said rumor is something notable and not just made up by a few people. He said that there is a tunnel under it that goes to a shelter on Park Place.
In spite of the attacks on Twitter, I do not understand why I should not be annoyed that the only people who profess to “help” homeless people expect what, for me, would be masochistic work, in spite of my abilities in other areas. Sam and Ryan, staffers from Picture the Homeless, saw the tweets against me and don’t understand how I can cope with that level of abuse. I’m used to it from my mother, although the major difference is that she would insist that she isn’t a masochist, and the Twitter attackers are proud of themselves for being masochists. David suggested that I put myself in their position. One of them, for example, had severe injuries from working with horses, but if that person loves horses, my telling them that they’re courting being a permanent cripple by remaining in that job may feel to them like an attack rather than simple reasoning. That doesn’t excuse Todd Kincannon from telling me to put on burnt cork and eat the hair shed by his dog, Noodle. There’s someone else who deserves to be homeless. He’s such a pathetic scumbag that the GOP fired him for advocated concentration camps for transgender people. And this is someone who claims to loathe big government!
Because of the massive job destruction created by President Bush and furthered by President Obama, in which most of the job replacement is either people falling off unemployment rolls, as millions of people are about to without enough jobs for them to enter, or low wage service jobs that still qualify people for government benefits.
I am sick of the poverty pimps that profiteer of the misery of homeless people, exploit them, and shame them, especially if they are homeless as the result of a physical disability. Sometimes I think these people should all be rounded up and forced to do the kind of labor that they’re telling me that I need to do. Cedric Southerland, who seems to have “made good” through little or no effort of his own, probably ought to stay homeless for the rest of his life. He has these giant Post-It notes on the wall of the room where the events and group meeting occur. He lists among keys to success taking responsibility for everything that happens to you and also avoiding irrational thoughts, which I consider to be self-contradictory statements. No one is responsible for choices made about them; thus it is irrational to take responsibility that I was not allowed to interview for a position to which I applied and for which I met or exceeded all the listed qualifications. The right-wing ideologues who attack me on Twitter use “Take responsibility!” as an argument ender, which I see as putting ideology over evidence. If I meet or exceed every qualification in a job posting, and write a targeted letter with a strong resume, it cannot rationally be considered my fault that I was not selected to interview for the position, and therefore, it also cannot be considered my responsibility that I am not employed. Even if that factor is multiplied by 2,140 times, the approximate number of jobs to which I have applied in the past nineteen months (I haven’t updated my spreadsheet since the last wave of applications), it doesn’t change that level of responsibility. To do so would be to insist that a coin that keeps coming up tails is weighted that way, even when there is no evidence that it is. If I could draw in the style of political cartoons, I would draw a balance, with nothing on the side that says that my unemployment and homelessness are my fault, an enormous pile of documents on the side that says that it isn’t, and have the right-wing nutjob pointing at the empty scale and proclaiming it the truth.